Re: [messengers] cmc list of mistaks

Date: 20 May 2013 08:50:24 +0200
From: Kai <kek76@xxxxxx>

Nice One, bega!

Solution for 2.2: 
Always have a Special "only-strom-manifest for the finals" ready.
He dont need to race the qualifying anymore!

Diese Nachricht wurde von meinem Android Mobiltelefon mit GMX Mail gesendet.

Shawn bega Blumenfeld <shawnbega@xxxxxxxxx> schrieb:

cmc list of mistakes

hello messenger email list. as promised, and longer in the making than
i had anticipated. having parsed many an email from past organizers
and racers, gone back and read old archives and blogs and webpages,
looked at old results and manifests and compared them to the cmc
handbooks and rules, re-read my own journals and studied my own
memories. some are general some are specific. all are derived from
actual mistakes we have made over the years, perhaps tweaked in their
telling for better understanding of the mistake instead of given in
its historic actuality. some are applicable to all cmc's. some only in
specific situations. some imply easy solutions, some are much more
complicated to prepare for. i'm sure i've left some out by accident or
lack of thinking of them. some suggestions i've left out on purpose
because i thought they were too specific or were covered somewhere
else in another way. or weren't mistakes, just someone whining. some
mistakes can be found rephrased in multiple entries. i've stayed away
from 2 major topics that i believe are a separate conversation:
budget, and how to get people to register and pay early.

any implication as to "you have to do it this specific way" or "you
have to have this thing at your cmc" is entirely unintentional. any
specifics like this are meant as examples to illustrate the mistake
that was made. for example: its not a mistake to allow a fixie rider
to use a brake in the finals and still win fixie king if your rules
allow it. its only a mistake if your rules don't allow it. i don't
wish to make any implication on which way your rule should be, or even
if the finals are included in fixie king, or even if you have a fixie
king, or if you have a fixie king that i could win on the road bike if
you'd just let me into the skid competition.

good luck future cmc organizers. may the mistakes of your grandparents
not be yours. i'm sure you all can come up with plenty of new mistakes
to complicate the championships to come. i hope you all will make
efforts to pass on the knowledge to your grandkids as well, so when im
really really old, cmc's will still be around and as fun and new and
fantastic as ever.

maybe this will even make the guide book at if said
webpage is ever updated. feel free to edit first, i says to no one in

- bega

1. What gender are you? (#1 solution: ask people what gender they are.)

1.1. Gender is not on the original registration form.

1.2. Gender isn’t manually checked in the database at packet pick up.

1.3. Gender isn’t on printed qualifying results.

1.4. Gender isn’t listed on website registration page and website
results pages.

1.5. 3rd place women doesn’t get her podium because database says she’s a guy.

1.6. Some guy who took 43rd gets prize for 5th place female.

1.7. Several people of varying genders get into or not into finals
because gender is listed wrong.

1.8. A team wins coed team without a female.

1.9. A coed team wins female team.

1.10. A women doesn’t get prize because race officials didn’t keep
track of women’s results (several occurrences at track stands

1.11. Women’s prizes are listed in book, but not actually acquired and
thus not given out.

1.12. A name sounds male in your language, although it's a female name
in her language, so the registrar accidently changes it from female to
male in the database.

2. How many people make the finals? (#1 solution: don’t tell
people in advance how many people make the finals)

2.1. The book gets written months in advance and the race design for
the finals doesn't allow that many people.

2.2. A certain amount of manifests are made, but “Strom” really
deserves to be an extra finalist because he tried really hard but
there is no extra manifest for him.

2.3. Similarly, 12 of the manifests get wet just before the finals
and there are no extras.

2.4. The book says a percentage, but the race turned out
smaller/larger than you thought and you need to add/subtract people.

2.5. The book says this many men and this many women but only so
many women race and you feel you need to at least eliminate the women
who didn’t try.

2.6. A results misprint makes many people think they made the
finals, and many others vice versa.

2.7. A successful protest bumps someone else out. The ousted rider
doesn’t hear, chooses not to party to prepare for the finals. Finds
out next day, having been robbed of a night of partying.

2.8. A rider is dq’d and the replacement rider has already started
partying and isn’t prepared for a good race the next day.

2.9. The book written months in advance says so many women and so
many men, but the organizers change their minds and decide so many
total all together but don’t communicate that well to the racers.

3. When and where is the bunny hop? The track stand? The skid?
(#1 solution: have a single form of communication with the racers such
as social media, website, texts. Pick one method and post all time and
location changes without fault. #2 solution: assign a leader to each
event who doesn’t have any other concurrent responsibilities so at
least that event is ready even if the previous one runs late. #3
solution: never ever hold an event earlier than listed. #4 solution:
stick to your darn schedule. You’ve had over a fricken year to plan
this thing. Stick to your schedule!)

3.1. The bunny hop is listed in one location but moved at last
minute. Many hoppers are waiting at old location and no one goes and

3.2. The stand is put off because the organizers are too tired and
move it until tomorrow but never post when.

3.3. The cargo race runs into the finals so people can’t do both.

3.4. The skid and the sprints are at the same time but really far
away from each other.

3.5. The bunny hop gets canceled because of weather, and the make up
is done on the fly at a random time when only a couple of people are

3.6. The stand is supposed to happen at the party but there isn’t enough room.

3.7. Similarly, the bar isn’t informed and doesn’t want the stand to
happen in the bar.

3.8. The skid is in a location that isn’t long enough.

3.9. The book says the awards will happen at 7pm, and the organizers
keep saying yeah, don’t go anywhere, but of course they don’t have
their stuff together for hours, and instead of say, being able to
shower and change, every gets sick standing around in their wet kits
while the temperature drops 20 degrees.

3.10. The results from side events don’t get to the organizers so
they never get posted anywhere, and the guys running the skid aren’t
at the party and no one knows who won at the awards and the fixie king
results are compromised and the bunny hop champion doesn’t get eternal
historic recognition on any web site anywhere.

4. Do I have to go in order? (rules mistakes) (#1 solution: print
rules on top of each manifest. Never have a race specific rule,
especially a change in rules, that’s not in writing somewhere such as
on the start table or the manifest or the book. Verbal rules aren’t

4.1. The book written months in advance lists very specific rules,
none of which remain by the time the race design is actually done.

4.2. A person cheats accidentally, attempts to turn themselves in
for cheating, but is given 9th place anyway. (some have suggested that
this was fair given the rider’s honesty, but it was a mistake at the
time, not done on purpose).

4.3. DFL isn’t defined, and the prize giver doesn’t know who to give
it to (examples: is it the last person in the finals or qualifying?
Last rider to complete the race or the one who bows out early and thus
does the worst? Or the rider who does the worst but was still riding
at the end?)

4.4. An extra manifest is accidentally handed out to everyone and it
takes a really long time during the race to inform the racers how to
handle it. Riders getting the information earlier get a huge advantage
essentially putting them a manifest ahead.

4.5. Rules are really complicated, not given out in advance, and the
race is delayed because the organizer has to explain everything to the

4.6. Rules are changed mid race, and either early or late qualifiers
gain an advantage not accounted for in the results (such as splitting
the results into sessions or pro rating the times)

4.7. Do I need to complete a manifest to exchange for a new one?

4.8. The rules say you have to finish by a certain time and your
last manifest either counts or doesn’t count depending on if its
filled or is it ok if its partial, or has at least one pick up or did
you just get this at the exchange and then come here because you have
to do at least one lap around even if you don’t stop anywhere or you
didn’t get credit for your next to last because you didn’t turn in
your last, or you got dg’d from a day’s worth of turned in work
because you missed the deadline on your last one and why didn’t you
know this rule?

4.9. The team competition is undefined although there is a prize for it.

4.10. Teams are defined in the rules as having 5 riders, but 12 riders
sign up for team X and the guy says take our 5 best and you say you
have to define them into separate teams and then the race starts and
the guy from team x doesn’t get his teams in in time and never talks
to you again because he feels you robbed him of a championship.

4.11. Fixie riders don’t know if they can use brakes in the main race
and still qualify for fixie king/queen.

4.12. Various best rider competitions go undefined although they do
have championship titles on the line according to the book. (veteran,
fixie king/queen/ best dressed - did Hans need to wear that tux
during the race?, because some people thought that’s what the rule was
and that ken should have won it for the zut suit. Don’t laugh at this
– it was a declared championship title that year with fierce

4.13. Can non fixies participate in traditional fixie events?

4.14. Who wins the bunny hop if they tie?

4.15. Can I try the cargo race without a trailer or cargo bike? I’m
pretty sure I can carry that pitiful excuse for cargo you all got
there in my big ass bag.

4.16. Can I start my qualifying again? Can I try twice? Three times?

4.17. Can we race together? Start at the same time?

5. What team am I racing for? (#1 solution – confirm team names
including spelling at packet pick up, sort database by team names with
riders to make sure that the teams conform to rules, make team assign
a captain at packet pick up for communication if issues arise later)

5.1. The same team has 8 different spellings in the database, so the
members don’t get sorted together for scoring.

5.2. 2 teams from different places in the world have the same team
name and get scored as one team.

5.3. The rules specify a 4 member team, but a team has 6 listed in
the database. It never gets caught and the team takes 3rd best team
with the extra points.

5.4. Someone wants to switch teams mid weekend. Do your rules allow this?

5.5. Does best team include side events? Qualifying?

5.6. Team competition goes undefined, or under-defined, or is so
complicated that no one can figure out the scoring.

5.7. Oops forgot to put team on the registration form, and forgot to
check it at packet pick up!

5.8. The rules for the team competition encourages the Australians
to buy lots of beer for potential team members, thus stealing all the
riders from all of the other teams.

5.9. One gender is unintentionally weighted more than the other in a
coed team competition. (this can happen with a points system based on
# of riders in an event within gender or place overall, or 1st place
when one gender has less competition or all sorts of other unintended
mathematical ways.) (Weighting one gender more on purpose is not a
mistake.) Careful with your team point design so it accomplishes what
you want.

5.10. Separate prizes for female teams? Coed teams?

5.11. Is there a way to race as a single person team? Is there a way
to win the team competition as a single person team? Should there be?
Careful with your design so it accomplishes what you want.

5.12. A guy joins a team but the team doesn't want him. Who informs
the unwanted?

6. Where do I stamp this manifest? Which package do I give you?
(checkpoint issues) (#1 solution: for organizers: assign and teach a
checkpoint captain for each individual checkpoint beginning at least 2
weeks in advance. Empower that captain to run their specific
checkpoint including knowing what packages they need for giving out,
what they are receiving, where they are stamping, all in advance of
the race, and trust them to teach the day-of volunteers to work at
their specific checkpoint. #1 solution for checkpointers: run your
checkpoint the same for every racer from the beginning of the day
until the end even if you learn from some racer midway that you are

6.1. A checkpoint doesn’t have checkpoint person. The race starts anyway.

6.2. A checkpoint doesn’t have the packages they are supposed to
give out. The race starts anyway.

6.3. Checkpoint 1 is stamping on the delivery spot not the pickup
spot. Instead of adapting, the next checkpoint sends racers back.
Checkpoint 1 changes and starts to get it right. Racers who start
later don’t have to perform the impromptu round trip.

6.4. The rules say you must pick up in order. One checkpoint is
allowing pickups anytime (mistake #1, but not the important one), and
some racers are getting an advantage. The checkpoint learns the rules
and stops allowing out of turn pickups (mistake#2). Early racers who
lucked into or heard of mistake #1 had an advantage.

6.5. The signatures are too easy and random and a racer could just
scribble on their own manifest without going anywhere.

6.6. A one way section is not being enforced early and is being
enforced later. Change is necessary due to safety. Everyone who races
early qualifies. Results were not split into 2 heats or pro rated.

6.7. The rules specify that you need a bag of some kind, but riders
are allowed to start without one.

6.8. A certain number of riders move onto round 2 but the finish
table person doesn’t know the number and keeps handing out manifests.

6.9. There aren’t enough packages. Riders in the middle of the race
don’t need to carry them giving them an advantage.

6.10. A checkpoint is part of a round trip. There is confusion as to
how to denote the successful midway stop on the manifest, or does the
package go back, or a different package? Do you have to do it

6.11. A rush is denoted on the manifest, but the checkpoint people
don’t know how to tell, or there isn’t even a way to tell, from the
manifest whether the racer has really done it as a rush.

6.12. The checkpoint people thought they were only working until 4pm. Ha!

6.13. The checkpoint people don’t have sufficient protection from the weather.

6.14. There is no process for returning packages to pickups.

6.15. A racer misses their assigned heat because they are running a
checkpoint during that shift. They start later, and are given DFL at
the party because of their outrageously long time. Another racer is
given penalties by the checkpoint people for riding the wrong way. The
racer was actually an organizer still setting up the course. Their
penalties total up to keep them out of the finals. Really? We can’t
find a way to let these people race on even terms? If we could, we’d
have more checkpoint people during qualifying.

6.16. A checkpointer is double assigned.

6.17. A sponsor wants to run its own checkpoint, but they were taught
rules for a different checkpoint because the map was switched around,
and no one realizes it until after the start.

6.18. A sponsor claims it wants to run its own checkpoint, but on race
day they’re just drunk.

6.19. One race captain is out trying to teach checkpoint people what
to do. Another is starting the race. A third is changing the rules. A
4th hasn’t shown up. Get it together you all. Really, be ready to
start on time.

6.20. The finish table and manifest exchange are in the same
same/different places, contrary to what is necessary to run the race.
Some race designs need these tables to be the same, some need them to
be different. Not everyone has gotten this right.

6.21. A fixie racer starts with a brake, but it’s not recorded. They
win fixie king anyway, contrary to stated rules. Another is told to
remove his brake, but that enforcement stops later in the day,
un-leveling the playing field. Another rides an mtb in the main race.
What are the rules for this competition and are you prepared to record
as necessary?

6.22. An idiot in a drunken stupor, when asked to state his # gives
his messenger # from back home. The starter writes that on the
manifest, and never checks their racer # that should have been on the
rider’s bag. The number on the manifest gets double listed in the
database with 2 times, or mixed up times, or something that screws the
rider who really carries that #.

6.23. There is some rule against going here or there but no way of enforcing it.

6.24. Checkpointers have penalties they need to turn in, but don’t
turn them in until the party later that night well after results are

6.25. Random people claiming to be volunteers turn in penalties or say
this or that racer has to be dq’d.

6.26. The racers start to get sparse near the end of the day, and the
checkpoint people abandon early.

6.27. A checkpoint is accepting any package handed to them, not the
just the one that they are supposed to get. They also stamp wherever
the messenger says to, not in their assigned spot. Many racers take
advantage. Turns out, it wasn't for any reason other than the
checkpointers were stupid. Don't use stupid people as checkpointers.

7. So what now, should we just add up the points for all 600
racers by hand? (database issues) (#1 solution: design and integrate
early. Build general and specific. Don’t trust your race designer.
What’s a minor change in race rules could be major in your scoring
database. Save time stamped copies all of the time so you can go back
and recreate from any given point including during the race. Back up
the files. Have a fully computerized version and a fully manual
version ready to go. Many races end up utilizing a little of both on
the finish line.) Practice with you scoring system! Remember it has to
work for hundreds of racers, so 5 minutes per racer might not be fast

7.1. The race designer changes a rule on the start line, and doesn’t
realize its extraordinary implications in the scoring system.

7.2. The race designer has unrealistic expectations as to how long a
manifest takes to score.

7.3. Everyone yells at the database guy while he’s trying to finish
the results.

7.4. The database guy tells the organizer months in advance that it
will take 5 hours to produce results from qualifying, but the
organizer promises the racers just a couple o’ minutes.

7.5. The database person says he needs 2 hours between the end of
the finals and the awards, but the organizer promises the racers just
a couple o’ minutes.

7.6. The timing system is designed to count each manifest exchange
as a lap, but the electronic counter is too close to the lane that
goes past the manifest exchange and many riders are given extra laps
(read: manifests) in the database.

7.7. The timing guy says I got this, but doesn’t realize that
messenger races aren’t criteriums and doesn’t understand the concept
of partial manifests or points.

7.8. The computers are tested for plenty of time, say 8 hours. The
race starts late but the computers have been on anyway, and at 8 hours
and 6 minutes, the computers die.

7.9. Similarly: the generator runs out of gas.

7.10. The scoring equipment and/or finished manifests aren’t protected
from weather.

7.11. The database is online and there is no/weak internet reception
at the race site.

7.12. Oops. out of printer ink. Really. Have extra.

7.13. The database guy sorts on the wrong field before the tabulation
step, meaning everyone with less than 10 manifests gets scored wrong.
So while he gets the top riders right on the podium, he robs himself
of his proper DFL accolades, and doesn't have correct full results out
for days.

7.14. A natural disaster causes part of the host city to fall into the
river. Participants struggle to even make the event, with planes
canceled and roads closed. But they find their way across untravelable
passes to come race. Venues and times have to be changed on the fly.
Rules go out the window and are decided on the start line. The race
format changes. Somehow, the racers, organizers, the people of the
city, pull it all together. Even the database guy gets everything
right, posting results in time for awards correctly on the first try.
The results database stands on its own, but is also integrated into
the website, including complicated Team and BAR categories, photos of
all the racers, Top Locals, all of the races and qualifying and
everything. Everything you could want in a results database and
webpage. But the incredible popularity of the website causes it to
crash, and the true beauty of his final results webpages aren't seen
online for weeks.

I'm sure i missed something.

Shawn "bega" Blumenfeld

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